MCSEA and Wikwemikong protest: June 15

Protest:  June 15
Place: at a house across from Paul’s corner store in M’Chigeeng beside the Lafarge cement plant on Hwy 540.
Time: 10am
Bring your signs and placards if available should you wish to join us.
CSEA and Wikwemikong Elders, Community Members and Youth — groups well known for their opposition to Industrial Wind Turbine Projects on Manitoulin Island — will be protesting the opening of the M’Chigeeng industrial wind power project on June 15.

M’Chigeeng community members who have concerns with the project but also have concerns about possible repercussions from M’Chigeeng Band Council should the opponents be seen protesting have specifically requested MCSEA and Wikwemikong citizens raise awareness, circulate information to the public, and conduct a peaceful protest.

The Wikwemikong group has restored democracy in their community and repeatedly halted industrial wind turbines by successfully petitioning their council. The democratic success of the Wikwemikong citizens contrast starkly the lack of democratic rights of other rural residents of Ontario who have had their right stripped away under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

The concerns of many M’Chigeeng citizens include the potential for additional turbines to be added in future, the loss of traditional hunting grounds, forest loss, the siting of the turbines in key habitat, loss of reserve lands for productive use due to the minimum 550 meter provincial danger zone setback from each turbine, and the concern that even this exclusion distance is totally inadequate to mitigate impacts.

Wind opposition groups worldwide have generally recommended setbacks from residences of 2 kilometers based on peer reviewed evidence. Worldwide setback info can be found in this link.

Even with a minimum four kilometer setback around each turbine, a lot of the M’Chigeeng community’s limited land base will be lost to productive use. Key habitat will be impacted for at least one generation.

With other turbines planned, there is a clear need for full consultation with all members of the community.

With heavy government promotion, the availability of particularly massive subsidies to aboriginal businesses, and less stringent rules on land use, the exploitation of reserve land for wind power development is under particularly acute pressure.

Some community members also have concerns over the visual impacts, especially now that the size of the turbines is now evident to all. The wind development has also closed down a local hiking trail.

Although community members were promised free hydro if the project moved ahead, the exact opposite has taken place with electricity costs now skyrocketing. Since wind power always requires backup generation when there is no wind or the wind is blowing too hard, the rate impacts of wind power are not limited to the high purchase cost.

With David Suzuki and Liberal Provincial Energy Minister Chris Bentley attending these ceremonies and promoting First Nation Land use loss perhaps they should also be aware of the divided communities these projects are creating throughout Ontario and First Nation Lands where questions are raised to who truly benefits from these projects and how much oversight has been involved for environmental impacts and community consultation on both sides of the issue.

We will be protesting at a house across from Paul’s corner store in M’Chigeeng beside the Lafarge cement plant on Hwy 540 beginning around 10 am. Bring your signs and placards if available should you wish to join us.

The OPP liaison team has been notified who are working with the UCCMM Annisnaabe police to maintain a peaceful gathering for all.

Raymond Beaudry

3 thoughts on “MCSEA and Wikwemikong protest: June 15

  1. My heart goes out to the good people of Manitoulin, one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. At the same time I fear for our own community on Northern Bruce Peninsula as wind companies are coming forward with their plans for us. We need the support of our elected local municipal council and that of the Aboriginal Community to score low in the government’s points system.

    Life will never be the same here even if no wind turbines are built. This issue has divided our once close community and many will never trust their good neighbour again.

    On another note, I wonder how Suzuki got to Ontario and how he, Bentley and his ontourage (sp)
    will be traveling to your beautiful island. Bicycles, horses, electric cars? God knows they want to save the environment and not burn any fossil fuels, right? Their all for ‘green’. (money that is)

  2. As I said previously …
    We visited Manitoulin Island in 1992, 1999 and 2008. During that last visit, the owners of the Rockgarden Terrace Resort dismissed our warnings of IWT strife to come as the ravings of anti-green types. Tourists, including ourselves, who appreciate unspoiled rural countryside, will be giving Manitoulin Industrial Park the Big Adios.

    • Worth repeating …
      Nothing would look better on the June 15 evening news than seeing / hearing the great and powerful David Suzuki being peacfully protested against by a whopping big turnout of local citizenry who would love to tell him where to put his beloved IWTs. Just saying …

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